Wednesday 19 June 2019

Merciless Martin's

St Martin's 3-12 Gusserane 0-05

Ryan Murphy of St Martin's gives chase to Gusserane-O'Rahilly's Sam Wall during the SFC clash at Innovate Wexford Park
Ryan Murphy of St Martin's gives chase to Gusserane-O'Rahilly's Sam Wall during the SFC clash at Innovate Wexford Park
Willie Devereux and Jack O'Connor of St Martin's attempt to put a stop to the run of Gusserane-O'Rahilly's Paraic Conway

Alan Aherne at Innovate Wexford Park

It's unusual to see Gusserane offering grateful thanks to Horeswood given the strong but healthy rivalry that exists between all protagonists in the New Ross District footballing hotbed.

However, that was undoubtedly the case on Saturday after the reigning champions were obliterated by already-qualified St. Martin's in this Tom Doyle Supplies Senior championship Group B mis-match in Innovate Wexford Park.

Horeswood's win over Fethard in New Ross at the same time meant that the holders still managed to claim fourth spot and a quarter-final place thanks to their head-to-head win over the St. Mogue's men last time out.

That was Gusserane's one and only really decent display of the season thus far, and luck was definitely on their side as they were beaten all over the field by a slick-moving St. Martin's who now get a chance to gain revenge on Glynn-Barntown for last year's semi-final exit.

If it doesn't click for Gusserane next time out they will be gone, and Shelmaliers will offer another searching test of their credentials.

It all unravelled very fast for them in this tie, and the bizarre circumstances behind the concession of their first goal in the eleventh minute summed up a thoroughly miserable evening.

Veteran Shane Cullen had picked up a leg injury and was standing as a passenger around midfield waiting for the change to be made.

However, a colleague still attempted to give him a pass but he was scarcely able to move, let alone race onto the ball.

St. Martin's gleefully accepted the present of possession, and seconds later a sharp and hungry-looking Ciarán Lyng was planting the ball in the corner of the net past Micheál Ryan with a low shot.

That strike put the Wexford District side clear by 1-4 to 0-2, and they added a second goal less than three minutes later.

Patrick O'Connor joined the attack to deliver a long handpass to Ed O'Byrne who in turn popped the ball inside to Jamie Carty, and the captain gave Ryan no chance with a cool finish at the Clonard end.

The only positive aspect of Gusserane's first-half display was the willingness of Seán 'Mini' Ryan to make runs and finish with accuracy.

He was their only scorer before the break and, quite remarkably, the team registered just once more after he knocked over his fourth point in the 23rd minute.

It was 2-7 to 0-4 at that stage, with another key score added before half-time as St. Martin's hammered home their advantage.

Jack O'Connor caught a Gusserane kick-out seconds into added time and probably couldn't believe his luck as he was allowed to solo unchallenged as far as the 20-metre line before leaving Micheál Ryan rooted to the spot with a placed shot into the left corner of the net.

The second-half was painful to watch for neutrals, and probably for Gusserane supporters too as they didn't raise a gallop.

Their sole point came from Kenneth Cahill in the 52nd minute, with Barry O'Connor, Ryan Murphy, Jake Firman plus free-takers Lyng and Carty adding to the winners' tally. An audacious strike by Lyng also hit the left post before flying across goal and somehow ending up wide in the 47th minute.

Rory O'Connor was an interesting stand-in goalkeeper for St. Martin's in the absence of Tomás Hayes, and in the second-half they were able to comfortably manage their remaining Under-21 players - bringing some off and introducing others - with an eye on the Premier hurling final against Naomh Eanna last night (Monday).

St. Martin's: Rory O'Connor; Jack O'Connor (1-0), Conor Firman, Philip Dempsey; Ed O'Byrne, Patrick O'Connor, Jake Firman (0-1); Joe Coleman, Daithí Waters (0-1); Peter Barry, Jamie Carty (capt., 1-2, 0-1 free), Paudie Kelly; Barry O'Connor (0-2, 1 free), Ciarán Lyng (1-3, 0-1 free), Ryan Murphy (0-3). Subs. - Mikey Coleman for P. O'Connor, inj. (30), Darren Codd for J. Coleman (39), Joe O'Connor for C. Firman (45), Michael Codd for J. Firman (56), Ben Maddock for Jack O'Connor (56).

Gusserane: Micheál Ryan; Liam Dillon, Mark O'Neill, Gavin Sheehan; Jack Burford, Graeme Cullen (capt.), Páraic Conway; Cillian Kehoe, Mark Rossiter; Adrian Redmond, Kenneth Cahill (0-1), Sam Wall; Paul Wall, Seán Ryan (0-4), Shane Cullen. Subs. - John Roche for S. Cullen, inj. (11), Jack O'Connor for Burford (43).

Referee: Barry Redmond (Clonard).

Wexford People

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